Festival of Arts, Science & Ideas: 2 & 3 July 2022

For one glorious summer weekend, Newnham’s beautiful gardens will host our Festival of Arts, Science and Ideas.

You’ll hear big ideas from leading thinkers, discover famous writers in conversation, join workshops and tours, meet old friends, make new ones, hear great music – or relax in a shady deckchair with a G&T.

There’s something for all generations to enjoy, with fabulous family activities.

The Festival is open to everyone and we welcome all members of the Newnham community and beyond to join us. Some events will also take place online, so you can join in, wherever you are.

‘Early Bird’ special rate tickets are now on sale, with additional discounts for current Newnham students and recent graduates.

A classical Indian dancer stands on the Sidgwick Memorial

A taste of what’s on

Book Tent – Hear from distinguished authors like Ali Smith and Margaret Drabble alongside up-and-coming writers, with genres from biography to thrillers, comedy to literary fiction.

Science – Discover new ideas and potential breakthroughs. Prof Jenny Morton explains how clever sheep help tackle Huntington’s disease, Dr Ricarda Beckmann delves into black holes, while others explore AI in cancer detection. We’ll celebrate the women who unravelled the secret of DNA, and hear an ecologist speak live from the field.

Hands-on workshops – Learn new things and meet new people at our workshops, including art with award-winning portrait artist Clara Drummond, learning Indian Dance, and deciphering historic documents.

Talks & Conversations – Hear big ideas and fascinating research, including four former Ambassadors discussing diplomacy in difficult circumstances, Anglo-Saxon archaeology with Sam Lucy, entrepreneurship with Alison Cork, Newnham’s history with Gill Sutherland, historic art in the modern world with Carol Atack and Fitzwilliam Museum Director Luke Syson, and much more.

Music – The Granta Chorale will perform new songs by Janet Wheeler, and pianist Anna Tilbrook performs Fanny Mendelssohn and Rebecca Clarke. Hear an Indian raga played live at dawn, or Waterbeach Brass Band with songs from the shows.

Behind-the-scenes tours – See Newnham in new ways with tours led by experts, exploring our beautiful architecture, the distinguished art collections, new approaches to gardening, and the Library and archives.

Family activities – With activities including stargazing in the inflatable planetarium, storytelling, and the Boat Club’s ‘oarsome’ rowing challenge, we look to inspire young minds while having fun.

Exhibitions – Explore Newnham’s history and future including a new art commission by Erika Tan, 100 years of women in Parliament, and the impact of climate change.

Food and drink

Food, glorious food – We’ve picked our favourite local chefs and their mobile kitchens. Look forward to Fitzbillies’ afternoon teas, a ‘Newnham Cocoa Party’ gelato, halloumi tacos, sweet or savoury waffles, crunchy salads and more. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices will be available to buy.

Drinks – A wide selection of drinks will be available to purchase from both the Iris Cafe and the Food Lawn. Coffees, teas, fruit juices and smoothies will quench your thirst, while G&Ts, prosecco, wines, beers and ciders will also be available.

Anniversary Dinner – A candle-lit dinner in College Hall on Saturday evening (Book the dinner as an add-on to your weekend ticket).

Find out more.

Find out about Accommodation, Travel and T&Cs

Book your tickets here.